Sunday 29 August 2010

Edinburgh audit

A few quick notes while I remember them, as I start the last day of Edinburgh Fringe 2010.

Flyers - this year 10,000 was way too many. I have two unopened boxes here. Out of three. That means I can only have distributed 4500 flyers, including the 1500 that went straight to the venue. Now obviously this means I have flyered less heavily than any previous year, which suggests that had I done more we could have sold even better. But if I do next year, I would suggest I might be able to survive on a print run of 5000.

Coffee - We still have 16 unopened free sachets of coffee given away daily with The Scotsman. That'll last a month, cheers The Scotsman.

Late nights - This August I have done fewer late nights at any Fringe since I first brought a show up in 2001. This has done wonders for my mental and physical health, and for the health of my wallet. Has it harmed my career, that is the question. Has resisting the temptation to meet the important and influential people of The Loft Bar & Brookes Bar meant that everyone else has been given TV deals that I could have nabbed? We shall see. All I know is that in 2009 I didn't get a TV series, in 2008 I didn't get a TV series, in 2007 we did get an appearance on Comedy Shuffle as a result of someone having seen us before the Fringe then the head of comedy actually coming to our show, and way back in 2002 The Sitcom Trials did indeed get a TV series. None of that came from drinking till 5 in the morning and trying to crash the TV Festival party.

Going to see shows - This year I have seen fewer shows than any other previous year. The weather has played a big part in that. Unlike England, which has been full of wet whingers, Edinburgh Fringe 2010 has had the best weather I can remember. No bout of rain has lasted longer than a shower, and some days have been so gloriously sunny I've found myself overdressed and have been far from tempted to go into a dark room to watch a play that might not be any good. Only saw two standups - Bec Hill and Ray Green who were, luckily, both excellent. Attended two talks at Fringe Central, on funding and Adelaide, both of which were helpful. Saw a few plays at Gilded Balloon, best of which was Could It Be Forever which Hev & I loved, part out of nostalgia and part out of it actually being a good play, and good mention for the Ian Dury play Hit Me. And we saw the worst show that I've seen at the Fringe in 20 years, which I'm still loathe to name as some people seem to have liked it. Anything else we saw can't have been that bad, but may have slipped from the memory as the weeks have passed. The thing we saw most of was the art, the best of which was an installation at the Observatory that finished on the 16th, Joan Mitchell's paintings at the Botanic Gardens, and the retrospectives from the collection at the Museum of Modern Art. Martin Creed was okay, as was stuff at Collective, Talbot Rice and a few other places, but really nothing to knock the socks off or to compare with previous years. Heard no buzz about any Must-See play, act or exhibition.

Telly - The Socks did The One Show and The Culture Show. These were personal highs, and felt like real achievements, whether or not the rest of the world noticed much.

Press - Our Scotsman interview was great, as were our reviews which included 4 stars in the Scotsman, 5 stars from Broadway Baby, and three other 4 star reviews. No reviews marked us less than 4 stars, which cannot be bad.

Our show - I knew from the start of the run that this year's show, On The Telly, is not as good as the one we did last year and which we'd just finished touring in June, Goes To Hollywood. A month's gap between the end of one show and the start of the next was never going to be enough time to come up with another great show, and the structure of this one was really quite floppy. It seems that the audience didn't notice this, and laughed at things because they were funny. But I knew, and if I do next year I'd really like to write a well constructed show that's more than just some sketches and songs strung together by an extended linking routine. Let's see. Wouldn't it be good to write a show that actually deserved 5 stars?

Ticket prices - We must make Sundays cheaper. They took a dip every time, and a lot of that will be because they cost the same as Fri & Sat & more than weekdays. Whose stupid idea was that?

Our flat - Must mention the flat on Lothian Rd that Heather and I have shared for a month, the first time Hev's stayed up for the entire duration. It's been lovely, conveniently located, and quickly became our home from home, with a fantastic view of the castle (the nightly fireworks have been amazing). But bloody hell, the noise! How anyone can live all year round with the noise of Lothian Rd outside the window is beyond me. Our past two flats were just off the Royal Mile, on Jeffrey Street, and before that in Lauriston Gardens. Both locations that are spared traffic. But Lothian Rd's traffic never seems to stop. And every single police car, ambulance and fire engine seems to have to come past our window, and always has to put its siren on. And, of course, it's been a warm month, so shutting the double glazing isn't really comfortable. None of which is to knock our flat, which has been great, and at a good price, but I'm just saying I couldn't live here all year round.

Er, that's it - If there's more that we've done, haven't done, meant to do or forgot about, I've forgotten about it. As ever I've done a lot of comparing this year's Fringe to previous years. But remembering that Heather and I started coming to the Fringe as punters in 1984, and I've been bringing shows up here since The Sitcom Trials in 2001, it inevitably becomes a jumbles of mixed memories, selective highs and lows, and lessons we think we may have learned from our past but can never quite be sure. Heather was in the official Edinburgh Art Festival brochure this year with her Lost Not Found: Abscission intervention, that was fun and not demanding. And did I mention the weather's been great? I think it's been the best weather at a Fringe since 1984, and that's saying something.

Today I have to go and collect the car, which has been parked outside the exclusion zone for 3 weeks and probably won't start. Then we do some packing, I do some flyering (I haven't mentioned the incredible ticket sales, have I?), I do the Socks' final show, and tomorrow we head for home. And that is as interesting as this blog will get. Hey ho.


★★★★ 4 STARS The Scotsman
"The puns are glorious... discover the magic for yourself"

★★★★ 4 STARS one4review "The classic double act"

★★★★ 4 STARS Edinburgh Spotligh review

★★★★★ 5 STARS Broadway Baby 5 star review "I experienced streaming tears of laughter and almost fell off my chair clutching my aching sides"

★★★★ 4 STARS National Student 4 star review
"It’s always entertaining and constantly funny"

Edinburgh 247 "If you want to laugh and to make your way home with your mates delightedly quoting lines from the show, then these are the dudes to see."

Scotsman interview: here

Hev Art Google Map:
Hev in Art Fest prog:


Planeteye traveler Top 10
Edinburgh Spotlight Top 10

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